Senate bet Mangudadatu uses 'SAF 44' to promote his ballot number
LAGUNA, Philippines – Dong Mangudadatu, a Maguindanao congressman who is now running for senator, is using the term "SAF 44" to promote his number on the ballot.
"SAF 44" is the shorthand for the 44 Special Action Force (SAF) troopers who were killed in the Mamasapano massacre in Mangudadatu's province in 2015. Considered heroes, the SAF troopers sacrificed their lives to arrest top terrorist Malaysian Zulkifli bin Hir, or Marwan who had been hiding in the town.
Knowing how widespread the term had been used in the news, Mangudadatu now uses it to make audiences in campaign rallies remember his number.
"Si Dong Mangudadatu, hindi po sinasadya na maging numero ko ay number 44.... Doon po nangyari 'yung sa Mamasapano, 'yung SAF 44, pero ang tawag ko sa SAF, S-A-F, 'Siya ay Friendly,'" said Mangudadatu on Saturday, March 9. (Dong Mangudadatu didn't intend for his number to be number 44.... It happened in Mamasapano, the SAF 44, but I call SAF, S-A-F, "He is Friendly.")
He was giving a speech at Hugpong ng Pagbabago's campaign rally in vote-rich Calamba City, Laguna.
He described the Mamasapano massacre as "karumal-dumal" (heinous), and said he hoped for peace.
"Sigurado ang future ng Pilipino kung wala nang kaguluhan sa ating bansa (The future of the Filipino is protected if there is no chaos in our country)," said the senatorial bet.
But he lumped SAF 44 with objects that voters could use to remember his number: Vix Formula 44, Magnum 44 guns, and "4x4" cars.
Mangudadatu ended his speech by calling himself the "SAF 44 of the Senate."
"'Yun, si Dong Mangudadatu, number 44 sa balota, ang SAF 44 sa Senado (That's Dong Mangudadatu, number 44 in the ballot, the SAF 44 in the Senate)!" he said. – Rappler.com